Christopher Lee of Crypt Magazine recently conducted an interview with KISS guitarist Tommy Thayer. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Crypt Magazine: So now that [the new KISS album] “Monster” is finished, what do you think of the album?
Tommy: I think it’s a high watermark for us. It’s coming out in a couple of weeks, and we couldn’t be more excited, more proud of a great studio record than this one. Ya know, it’s been a long time coming. We actually finished the record probably six or eight months ago, but it’s just taken a long time for the release schedule, putting the deal together with Universal, and then also we did the KISS/MÖTLEY CRÜE tour, so we didn’t want to drop the record right at the beginning of that. We wanted it to have its own kind of place, ya know, instead of just being part of the KISS/MÖTLEY tour, which was great. So, anyway, ya know, we’re super-excited about it, and it’s really a bonafide “band” record — band-made, band-produced, by Paul Stanley, and we did it all ourselves, which is very gratifying, because it kind of reminds you of when you were a young band in the garage starting out, and we approached it the same ways you did back then. You wrote tunes on your own just with the guys, you rehearse them, and then you play them live, or ya know, work an arrangement or go record them, and there was no other people involved, like an outside producer, or an outside writer, or, even the record label didn’t have any input in terms of what kind of direction or what kind of songs they should be, or, “We’re missing a radio song,” or a single — none of that. We just did it with no agenda. It’s very organic and true to the heart.
Crypt Magazine: I have always thought that, even though Gene [Simmons] and Paul are like brothers, there is still a “healthy competition,” as far as which guy can pull off a better song. I’ve always felt like the two of them have a little bit of that. Would you agree?
Tommy: Yeah, I think that’s part of the dynamic of KISS. Gene and Paul, obviously, are brothers; they have been together for a long time, and very successful, they continue on. They have that longevity and history together. But they are two completely different personalities, and I think it’s that edge between the personalities, and maybe a little competition, too, is the thing that drives the performance and it drives the whole thing a bit, and I think you’re right about that. That’s definitely part of the dynamic.
Crypt Magazine: ‘Cause personally I think Paul is usually the better songwriter, the better performer, even though Gene is amazing, too. But if there was any record where all the Gene songs pretty much ate all the Paul songs, this is probably the record. Gene is on fire! I thought “Out Of This World” and “Wall Of Sound” are very memorable, and “The Devil Is Me” is amazing —classic Gene. The first time I heard them, I just yelled, “Wow!” They just sound great!
Tommy: Ya know, the key to real success in a band is great collaboration, and to have a great collaboration you have to be comfortable, and you need to respect the other people that you are working with, that you’re in the band with, and feel comfortable, and also like I said, want do it. The collaboration on the songwriting and even in the recording process, even though Paul’s the producer, and he’s driving the car, its good to have four guys who are all comfortable collaborating and open. I’ve been in bands where that just doesn’t really happen naturally in that situation. I’m sure there’s a lot of bands out there, where, ya know, you hear stories, and because of the the tension in the band, they can’t, ya know, easily collaborate or be open to suggestions and things like that, because it’s too difficult personality-wise. [laughs] Again, in this situation, everyone’s so comfortable and everybody truly wants to hear what the other person has to say, and it’s a great environment for creativity.
Read the entire interview from Crypt Magazine.
“Hell Or Hallelujah” official lyric video: